What to Do If You've Been In a Car Accident
Being in a motor vehicle accident can be a very stressful situation- both emotionally and physically. The following is a simple primer created by your Kirkland Chiropractor and Kirkland Insurance Agent to help answer some common questions you may have on how to go about seeking treatment for injuries after you've been in the accident.
Which Party's Insurance Company Do I Call to File an Injury Claim?
At Integrity Chiropractic, we've had the experience with working with most auto insurance companies and find that the process is usually best for injured patients to file a Personal Injury claim with their own insurance company whether they are at fault or not as it generally ensures a smooth and expedited process for the patient because being in pain is already stressful enough.
How Does Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Work?
If you're injured in the accident, your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage on your car insurance policy will help cover your medical expenses regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Using the claim number provided to you, you can seek medical attention for your injuries with any specialist such as a medical doctor, chiropractor, massage therapist, or physical therapist simply using the claim number you have been provided. This coverage applies just the same for your passengers if they were hurt in the same accident.
In Washington, PIP coverage starts at $10,000 and can go as high as $100,000. In addition to medical expenses, it also provides benefits for:
Loss income, as a result of your injuries
Essential services, such as childcare or cleaning, that you may not be able to perform because of your injuries
Without PIP coverage, you would use your individual medical insurance or be responsible for the costs to see a doctor or specialist for accident-related injuries.
The best part about the Personal Injury Protection coverage is the immediate benefit for you and your passengers, with no out-of-pocket expense, whatsoever. The peace of mind knowing your medical bills are taken care of will allow you to fully focus on recovering from your injuries.
Be sure to talk to your Kirkland Insurance Agent today to make sure you have Personal Injury Protection coverage on your auto policy.
Will My Premium Go Up If I File a Claim with My Insurance Company?
Generally if you were not at fault for the accident, your insurance premium does not get impacted directly. However, if you have a history of frequent claim filing (whether they pay out or not), insurance companies have since learned to tie that into their algorithm in calculating future premiums and hence could impact your premium in the long run.
Does Integrity Chiropractic Work with Auto Accident Claims?
While we are an out-of-network clinic, we do happen to work with auto accident claims because the manner in which we can deliver treatment is not overly restrictive like that of normal health insurance. We work with PIP claims and a limited amount of lien or 3rd party cases (where bills are held until your case has settled).
Should I Get Medical Care, Chiropractic, Massage, or Physical Therapy for My Injuries?
Most auto injuries that present at Integrity Chiropractic are sprain/strain injuries due from the impact of the collision and can vary between low to high levels of pain and discomfort, but are not life-threatening. Neck and back pain injuries are the most common injuries sustained from being in a motor vehicle accident. It's not unusual for people to seek one or a combination of the above for treatment of their auto accident injuries, but peace of mind cannot be understated. If you feel you've sustained a very serious injury and have not been to an urgent care or emergency room to get checked out, we recommend that you do. The information learned from these appointments can also provide useful information to whoever you see after. Should you require it, Integrity Chiropractic has established relationships with excellent medical providers that can work with your auto accident case should you require X-ray/MRI imaging, a second opinion, or more invasive co-management of your injuries.
Otherwise, Integrity Chiropractic provides the highest quality massage therapy and chiropractic care (which includes rehab and exercise that you would receive at a physical therapy clinic) to help you recover from these injuries. Our Kirkland chiropractor and massage therapist work as a team to ensure you are getting the personal attention and scheduling needed for your case. This comprehensiveness and convenience makes Integrity Chiropractic a sensible choice for our patients that simply do not have the extra time to take off from work going to multiple providers.
How Long Will It Take Me to Recover From My Auto Accident Injuries?
This is unique to each patient and there are no general guidelines. We have seen patients need between 2 weeks to 10 months to recover or to reach maximum benefit from their care. We typically treat in 4-6 week blocks and re-evaluate our patients after that period to determine if more care is needed. Our goal is to help our patients recover as fast as possible because the time taken out of your life being in pain and having to come to appointments is time away from living your life.
Do I Need An Attorney For My Injuries?
Every patient's injuries are unique to them as well as the affects on their daily life. While most injuries are not life-threatening, some injuries take longer to recover from or are unable to completely resolve which can leave you with questions on what happens if or after your PIP coverage is exhausted. The nature of some cases are also more complex based on the details of the accident or other complications that arise during the claim processes. If you find yourself with increasing questions, unease, or uncertainty as you recover and manage your accident, this is where retaining an attorney might make sense.